Every once in a while I stop and wonder just how strange my life can get. Over the years I have witnessed situations and events that at the time seemed to be the craziest I had seen until the next weird event occurs.
The title of this article, as I’m sure you know, comes from the Tom Hanks movie “Forrest Gump.” The quote is from Forrest’s mother. It really fits our current times. I have seen things that I could not have imagined possible. It was inconceivable and yet it happened.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) seemed to start out as a small outbreak, but has proven to be a serious and deadly viral outbreak. I originally started writing this article more than a week ago and it was ready to be published. Due to a serious server issue it was eaten by the server before it could be published. So here I am trying to recreate it. The virus has spread all over the world now and many of us are distancing ourselves from contact with other people as much as possible. The hope is that with less person-to-person contact we will be able to slow down the numbers of infected people and therefore reduce the amount of deaths.
In the original article I wrote I described the strange site I witnessed in COSTCO where the entire toilet paper section and the paper towel sections, making up an area more than 50 feet long, were completely empty of stock. The same could be said of the hand sanitizers and cleaning products. The hoarders picked them clean. They obviously were thinking only of themselves and not the many other people who actually needed to by their normal supply of those products. How on earth did they think they needed that much toilet paper all at once?
Our local Safeway store was exactly the same with the added empty shelves where all of the bottled water should have been. They even cleaned out all of the distilled water. There are those of us who use CPAP machines for sleep apnea, The machines have small tanks which have to be filled with distilled water to add moisture to the air that is being pumped into our lungs. Without that moisture our sinuses and lungs would become seriously dehydrated. If the hoarders took only what they needed for now there would have been enough left for those of us who came after them. Why this panic buying? Were they that afraid they would have to be baricaided in their homes without being able to leave to go to the store? There is is. Stupid is as stupid does.
I have a couple examples of situations in my past that are very relevant to our current crisis. When I lived in Memphis, Tennessee, a place where serious snowfall is quite rare, I had possible light snow in my weather forecast back in the mid 1980s. I emphasized that no accumulation was expected, but once the people heard the word snow they went crazy. The stores were cleared of bread and milk like a field picked clean by locusts. My wife and I used to go to a day-old bakery which was a satellite store for one of the best bakeries in town. The forecast I gave was broadcast on Friday night. My wife and I went to do our grocery shopping the next day as we always did on Saturday and of course we went to that bakery. Normally the store had stationary racks and six foot tall racks on wheels full of loaves of bread, buns, and assorted baked goods. That Saturday however, to our surprise, all of the racks were empty. It was a weird feeling similar to walking into a ghost town. The supermarkets were cleaned out of all of the milk in stock to. What on earth would they do with all of that milk and bread? Even if we did get a significant snowfall it wouldn’t last more than a day or two at best. My forecast was correct. No snow pilled up on the ground at all. I don’t know what they did with all of that extra milk, but a lot of the bread ended up in their back yards torn apart to be fed to the birds. Stupid is as stupid does.
In the other situation we lived in Spokane, Washington in 1980 when Mt. St. Helens erupted dumping a quarter to half an inch of ash on us. Nobody was prepared for that one. However, when there were subsequent eruptions and I went on the air explaining that another eruption occurred and we could see more ash. The people went shopping. They were the smart ones. They went to the deli section of the grocery stores and bought cheese, cold cuts, dip, beer, and wine. They hand a party while staying inside until the ash actually stopped falling. That’s the way to do it. They didn’t empty the deli section. They just bought enough for their group, usually their immediate family, and left plenty for other shoppers.
Now back to our current situation. As this pandemic continues, and it looks like it will be for some time to come, we need to use common sense. Even if you are self-quarentined just for your protection you will be able to make quick trips to the store for the necessities of life. There will be no need to hoard anything. Please think of the rest of the population and buy only what you need. If we all cooperate and follow the rules that we have been given we’ll have a better chance of getting through this stressful situation. For the latest information and updates on the Coronavirus outbreak there are sites you can visit. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus.
Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can email me at: [email protected]